“Happy Birthday, Grandpa!” (the Small Moments that Mean the Most)

Everyone always seems to look forward with gladness to the day when the kids are no longer running and screaming in and out of the house, yet once many elderly reach those years and find themselves alone in the silence of an old house, they may close their eyes and wish for the excitement that once filled the walls of their home. Our parents were there when we needed them most. They laughed every time we fell down trying to take our first steps and held us when we tried and failed for the very first time. With pride they watched us grow and with sadness they let us go. And moving on to bigger and better things, we left them with only memories in that old house.

We forget sometimes in the bustle of life, the things that will really mean the most to us now and in the future when we find ourselves in the same position as our elderly parents. When we’re young we can’t help clinging to each other and our parents because we feel small and vulnerable, but as we age we can often forget that those simple bonds we had we were small should have never broken. A family after all is always a family so why is it that sometimes we are reluctant to break away from the mainstream of our hectic lives and take a moment to return to that old house and spend just an hour not looking at the clock, not checking our phones, just talking and listening?

There is a role that every family member old and young should hold. Besides work and school responsibilities, children and grandchildren should recognize their responsibility to each other, their responsibility to establish bonds with their grandparents and unite their family. Everyone wants a companion, and no one deserves to be alone. Some shells are tougher to break and sometimes to young grandchildren, their grandparents seem big and frightening.

There was an old man in a nearby neighborhood who used to  bring out his belt and snap it at the children when they were doing things he didn’t think they should be doing. No one wanted to go near this man let alone speak to him. His own granddaughter was afraid to approach him, but as the years passed, and he began to realize that he was missing out on knowing his grandchildren, his granddaughter began to notice him watching their family parties from the other room with sad eyes full of regret.

It was on the day that they were celebrating his birthday that she finally got up the courage and stepped up to her grandfather and said simply, “Happy birthday, Grandpa.” Holding her breath she waited to see his response. He didn’t snap at her, or grunt and walk away, instead he smiled for the first time in many years.

It is the small little things we do and say that can make the greatest impact on our families especially our elderly loved ones. In old age, our bodies are never as we’d like them to be. We face complications we’ve never had to face before. We face loneliness and an emptiness we never thought we’d never feel. I don’t think any of us will truly realize what our small, kind acts mean to our parents and grandparents until we are in that position ourselves.

Simply saying “I love you” or “Happy birthday” could brighten their whole week. Sitting down and playing a board game with them or talking to them about problems at work or school could help them to laugh and smile again. Our elderly loved ones have gone through a lot in life, they’d love nothing more than to have us, the younger generation, seek their wisdom and advice. Our parents spent at least eighteen years of their lives caring for us. It’s only fair we try to pay them back.

As we continue to hurry through life, let’s not forget to pause for those small, meaningful moments and enjoy them while we still have the chance.

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About National Care Planning Council

The National Care Planning Council and its affiliated members are dedicated to helping families recognize the need for long term care planning. We are committed to raising awareness and providing information on common eldercare issues. Integrity, honesty, and a genuine concern for the elderly and their families are at the heart of our services.

Posted on July 17, 2012, in Elderly Emotions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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